PR: What Not to Do: Promotional Giveaways

Sometimes the stupid part is getting 80% of the way there and then falling over. Case in point:

Dakuwaka is making it more cost effective for retailers to try the first issue of its newest title, Purity, by offering a huge retailer incentive. For every 10 issues of Purity #1 ordered by retailers, their store will receive an additional 10 issues absolutely free.

“We realize that it’s a tough market and retailers have many choices,” said Penny. “We wanted to come up with something that would encourage retailers to order this exciting new supernatural, action thriller and benefit them monetarily for doing so. I think this incentive does just that.”

Buy some, get more free is a great promotional idea. Retailers like it, because it ends up either reducing their per-issue cost or providing them with samples they can give out. Publishers like it because retailers have to buy in, so they’re better targeting those already somewhat interested in their product.

However, buy 10/get 10 is too high a level, in my opinion. For a relative unknown, buy 5/get 5 would be more realistic. The goal is to cause retailers who were ordering considering 2 or 3 copies to bump their order to the next plateau in order to qualify for the special offer.

And remember, you’ve also got to do the work to convince the retailer to buy into the offer in the first place. I’m not sure this generic solicitation does it:

Purity #1 (Mature Readers)
Written by Shawn Lewis
Pencils by Andres Guinaldo
Inks by Juan Salcedo
Cover by Juan Salcedo

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse discover an element that will give each of them the power of God Himself, allowing them to not only bring about the end of the world, but to wage war on Heaven and Hell. Their threat is so great, that God and the Devil must set aside their differences and place the task of stopping the Horsemen with a man who believes in nothing; not God, the Devil…or even himself.

32 pages, B&W, $ 2.99
To order this first issue, use Diamond order code: OCT063284.
Retailers, be sure to use this special incentive order code to receive your free issues: OCT063285.

Ideally, this offer would be accompanied by a free preview or information on how the retailer can access a PDF copy. Their website, in contrast, doesn’t even mention Purity unless you wander into their message boards, where all you find is this press release and a Poser-looking cover.

6 Responses to “PR: What Not to Do: Promotional Giveaways”

  1. Lisa Lopacinski Says:

    I agree. The 10/10 is too high for an unknown book from an unknown publisher and a mature audience book done in black & white, at least for one single store. For multiple location stores it’s probably not bad though, if they can divide those 20 copies over several locations.

  2. Chris Says:

    Johanna- Actually, from a publisher’s perspective, I think 10/10 is bang on for a single issue. Seriously. It’s saying “We’re prepared to support the hell out of you for selling our book, but we wanna know you’re serious about it.” It’s a much higher stakes gamble than a 5/5, but it might pay off for them too. As a retailer I seriously applaud any publisher willing to put their money where their mouths are. I think, particularly because it’s a complete unknown in b&w, they’ve got nothing to lose by setting the incentive at that level. An extra 2-3 copies each from 100 retailers isn’t gonna make much of a difference to their bottom line, but an extra 7-8 for those same retailers will. It also gives retailers a MUCH greater incentive to get behind the book — they’ve got 20 of them on the shelf!

    That said, they did completely fuck it up by not having a sample of the book (or a mention…) on their website.

    I’d rather have 10 ambitious failures than another mediocre (and relative) success.

  3. Johanna Says:

    I generally advise publishers to treat their business as a business instead of a gamble; the way you’re talking about it, it sounds to me like there’s too much guessing involved. Sure, 10 is better than 5, but 5 is better than 0. As a retailer, are you going to take advantage of this offer? How many others will?

  4. M. High Says:

    Oh, I think you protest a bit much. Not really a “stupid publisher trick”, but more of just a misstep, really. I think most of us can readily agree that a 10/10 promotion for an unknown from an unknown is overly ambitious in today’s market (it would have been perfectly acceptable about 10 years ago, though). 90% of the retailers out there are trying to make the decision between ordering 0 and 1 copies, and most of the few hundred indy-friendly retailers are probably trying to decide between ordering 1 copy or 2/3 copies. So, perhaps a 5/5 promo would be more realistic.

    Hm, then again, the more I think about it, why *not* try and be ambitious right out of the gate? If the promotion fails, then the company doesn’t really lose anything. But what if it works? I can’t think of any other small-sized company that has tried such a high buy-in promo recently, so there’s no track record on this sort of thing. Today’s comic book marketplace is a harsh, harsh place for small press comic book issues, perhaps harder for a new publisher to break in today than at any time in the past 20 years. I see very little downside from this sort of offer from the publisher’s perspective, but a huge potential upside. I don’t give it much of a chance to succeed, but if it does, they’ll be in great shape.

    But really, only time will tell. We’ll know in about two or three months whether or not this promotion worked. Just keep an eye on the Diamond top-300 chart.

  5. Johanna Says:

    Sometimes the title of this recurring feature doesn’t quite fit, I agree. That’s what happens when you start something as a joke.

    Your and Chris’ points about gambling big are well-taken. I fear for small companies, though, who don’t realize that in many cases, they will never get another shot if they make a poor first impression.

  6. mikepenny Says:

    Here is a link to preview pages for PURITY..

    THe site was to be updated to highlight Purity & the promotion but unfortunately got delayed.
    The site should reflect the promo in a few days.




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